Not many of us know the importance of learning how to achieve mind and body connection. Generally speaking, we tend to think of our body & mind as two different systems and we believe they function separately. Yet instinctively, you and I know that is not the whole story. Let’s look at a common experience that all of us have had in the past with our body & mind connection.
Do you remember the first time you had to give a speech in front of an audience? Maybe you felt “butterflies” in your belly.
Or went on a first date with someone you were really trying to impress? Maybe you felt the palms of your hands becoming sweaty.
In either case, there is no doubt that you wanted to appear calm and collected, but at the same time you were feeling self-conscious and nervous. Self-consciousness will result in tightening your buttock muscles (so you are literally sitting on your tension), you will sweat more than usual, you may feel slightly nauseous, and you’ll probably fluff your words just when you want to appear suave and confident.
My Personal Experience
In my own personal experience of the mind-body connection, when I felt nervous or anxious I would eat – particularly carbohydrates such as chips. Sound familiar to anyone? Food cravings were the way my body was signalling to me that I was stressed, nervous or anxious. What I knew instinctively, and what we are at last beginning to prove scientifically is that there is an intimate and dynamic relationship between what is going on with our feelings and thoughts, and what happens in the body.
Illness is very real, accidents happen, and medicine can really help. But the role of the mind and emotions in our state of health particularly with chronic conditions is vital one, and by understanding this relationship, we can play a greater role in our own well-being. It is only a part of the overall picture, but it is the part that is invariably overlooked or ignored.
The idea that our minds and emotions play a critical role in our health—a fundamental aspect of the Going Beyond The Food Method—is far from new. Many ancient healing systems emphasize the interconnection between mind and body in healing, including Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine; Ayurvedic Medicine – Indian traditional medicine with written records dating back more than 5000 years; and Traditional Medicine with a history of more than 2500 years. All of these traditional medicines have taught us that good health depends on a balance of the mind, the body, and the environment. Thus, learning how to achieve mind and body connection is essential.
Science of the body & mind connection
Modern scientific research supports this age-old tenet of medical wisdom. It began in the 1920s when a Harvard scientist by the name of Walter Cannon, MD, identified the fight-or-flight response through which the body secretes hormones called catecholamines (such as epinephrine and norepinephrine). When they enter the bloodstream, these hormones produce changes in the body—i.e. a quickened heart or increased breathing rate—that puts the person in a better physical state to escape or confront danger.
Since that time, scores of scientific breakthroughs have highlighted the mind-body connection in health. Psychologist and PhD Neal Miller discovered that we can be trained to control certain physical responses such as blood pressure that were previously considered to be involuntary. This discovery gave birth to biofeedback, which has now been found to be effective in the treatment of anxiety, attention deficit disorder, headaches, hypertension, and urinary incontinence.
Harvard cardiologist Herbert Benson, MD, identified the flip side of the stress response which he called the “relaxation response.” Benson demonstrated that meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques can bring about physiological changes including a lower heart rate, lower breathing rate, and decreased muscle tension along with positive changes in brain waves. Mind-body techniques that elicit this relaxation response have been successful in treating many stress-related disorders.
How to Achieve Mind and Body Connection: The Next Steps
If we separate either a machine or an organism into its component parts, it can’t function. Each piece has a role to play, even if it is a very small role and even if only one part is malfunctioning it affects the whole. If we ignore the role of our feelings and thoughts play, we are ignoring one of the most important parts that make up our whole being.
Understanding the mind-body relationship and knowing how to how to achieve mind and body connection may not cure your physical difficulties. However, by learning the language of your body messages, you can discover what is being repressed or ignored in your psyche and emotions and how this is influencing your well-being. From this vantage point, you can discover that there is an extraordinarily intimate two-way communication going on between your mind and body that affects both your physical state and your mental and emotional health.
The first step in sharpening your mind-body connection is to eliminate any interference from the outside environment from food and toxins. Our signature program the Going Beyond The Food Academy is a step by step plan that will help you begin your journey in crushing your cravings and achieving total health. One of the main benefit of a more mindful approach to life and a peaceful relationship to food. You can get started here with mindful & intuitive eating by click here.